OSX 10.7 Lion And Beyond: How We Should Have Sandboxed Applications Like iOS

Lately I’ve been thinking about how Apple has a real opportunity to bring additional benefits of iOS to OS X as far as app management is concerned. We now have a pretty clear picture on the benefits the Mac App store will bring in 10.7 as far as brining some of the same great usability that iOS has for installing and updating apps. One thing that I would love to see is completely sandboxed apps in OS X. Developer Joe Hewitt brought up a great point today on Twitter about this.

Will Mac App Store apps be sandboxed and put all their data in one folder like iOS apps.


Currently apps are installed under ~/Applications but we also can have app-specific support files in ~/Library/Application Support/, cache files in ~/Library/Caches, and preference files in~/Library/Preferences.

This seems like a complete mess…

Making OS X apps behave like iOS apps in that all of their data would only be allowed within a self contained folder would mean that removing an application (cleanly) would be much easier. I for one would welcome this change. Not only from a UX standpoint, but from a security standpoint as well.

Hewitt goes on to say:

…and if so, can non-App Store apps also do this?

Great question. I think if Apple were to do this, they would be inclined to make this a universal requirement for all apps going forward. It wouldn’t make sense to have separate requirements for non-Mac App store apps. That’s just not how Apple rolls.